Climbing Mount Olympics: An uphill task for India?
- September 1, 2016
- Posted by: admin
- Category: General Knowledge
The past few days have been dedicated to saluting the might of the girl child and as Pullela Gopichand rightly said that this time, instead of Save the Girl Child, we were “Saved by the Girl Child.” India’s daughters at the Rio Olympics this year ensured that we do not return empty-handed and put up a good show at the games. While Pusarla Venkata Sindhu became the first Indian woman shuttler to win the silver medal, fighting a tough final against World No.1 Spain’s Carolina Marin; wrestler Sakshi Malik won the bronze medal for the country. Gymnast Dipa Karmakar, on the other hand, may not have finished at the podium but she raked in appreciation with her skills at performing Produnova- a dangerous but equally impressive move in gymnastics vault, and stood fourth in the vault finals. What made these victories sweeter still was that they came close on the heels of a comment by a socialite in India who wrote that sending the Indian contingent to Rio was a waste of money and opportunity and that they had gone only for clicking selfies.
However, there were some troubling developments from Rio as well. The doping allegations against Narsingh Yadav finally caught up with the wrestler and the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) suspended him for 4 years following an appeal by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). Another sad turn of events was when marathoner OP Jaisha collapsed at the finish line at the end of a 42 km. race. She accused Indian officials of not being present to provide her water and refreshments at regular intervals and that she was “left to die” in the sweltering heat. Debates ensued with many hurling allegations at the sports officials and authorities while others indulging in mud-slinging at the athlete. A committee has been constituted to reach the truth of the matter.
However, all said and done, the fact of the matter remains that India did not manage to win as many medals as one would have expected; also, given that this was India’s largest ever contingent to the Olympic Games. Several reasons are being advanced for this sub-par performance: lack of funds and infrastructure to train athletes, lack of encouragement and support to deserving athletes, politics in sports selections, and a general lack of preparation and practice of the players.
Many countries have started investing heavily in their Olympic dreams and are reaping rewards- be it USA, Great Britain or China. In fact, Indian shooter and former Olympic gold medal winner, Abhinav Bindra recently tweeted with reference to a Guardian UK article, “Each medal costs the UK £5.5 million. That’s the sort of investment needed. Let’s not expect much until we put systems in place at home.”
In order for India to be ready for the next Olympics, it will have to be a more collected effort- not just from the players but also the authorities. A talent search programme could be put in place and the very best players could be assigned to academies with coaches who are driven and can help these players achieve their full potential. Until then, the Olympics will remain an uphill task…